Back On The Road (1971)


“Without a song, the road would never bend”

-Elvis Presley, 1971

Elvis enters 1971 continuing to fight a paternity test. On January 2nd, Elvis won a court order for Patricia Parker to submit a blood test. Along with that, she was required to take a lie detector test before she could continue with the case. The month looks up 6ded33d85f7caae55df39d4428c8c7bfwith Elvis is nominated for the Jaycees “Ten Outstanding Young Men Of The Year”. With things looking up, Elvis heads to Las Vegas to rehearse for his next engagement there. His show opens January 28th and spends most of the month sick.

Elvis’s show closed, but remains in Las Vegas with Priscilla to watch Ann-Margaret’s new show. Her show takes the place of Elvis’s at the International Hotel. Elvis, Priscilla, Ann-Margaret, and her husband Roger Smith hang out backstage for hours. Elvis and Priscilla head to Palm Springs and then over to Bel-Air. They finally return to Graceland March 10th. He is scheduled to record at RCA Nashville but is suffering from an eye infection. The session is cut short and only records Amazing Grace, Early Morning Rain, For Lovin’ Me, and The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

March 16th, Elvis went to the hospital and discovered he was suffering from glaucoma. This forced him to wear an eyepatch for a few weeks while medication helped with the symptoms. Elvis takes Priscilla to Hawaii on March 20th and spent the rest sharoncarrell_1-tripod-comof the month on the beach. Still on the move, the Presley’s plan a surprise trip to New Jersey to visit Priscilla’s brother. Donald, Priscilla’s brother, was an army chopper pilot on leave. Not slowing down, the couple heads back to Las Vegas where they spend the next month watching entertainment. They spend time with Tom Jones and Sammy Davis, Jr. During this trip, Elvis gets the idea of “Taking Care of Business” necklaces and drew a design and places an order from several jewelers in Los Angeles.

On May 15th Elvis enters the studios and goes on a six-day recording rampage and produces 30 songs. Some of these songs are Help Me Make It Through The Night, Fools Rush In, Home For Christmas, I’ve Got Confidence, If I Get Home On Christmas Day, The Wonderful World Of Christmas, and We Can Make The Morning. After completing such a recording session, Elvis is exhausted. He receives the “Founder’s Award” on May 23rd at the Memphis Music Awards banquet. Vernon accepts for him.

Help Me Make It Through The Night

After all these years, the East Heights Garden Club of Tupelo, Mississippi finally finish the restoration of Elvis’s birthplace. On June 1st, it opened to the public. Elvis goes back to the studio June 8th and records He Touched Me, Put Your Hand In The Hand, and other gospel favorites. The city of Memphis decided that on June 10th they were changing the name of a stretch of road. The road went from Highway 51 in Memphis city limits to the Mississippi border. The name was changed to Elvis Presley Boulevard.

Put Your Hand In The Hand

Elvis has a gig in Lake Tahoe. He does two performances a night and breaks all attendance records. Elvis leaves Tahoe and heads to Vegas because he has to prepare for his usual Summer Festival. August 9th, Elvis’s summer Vegas shows at the Hilton International begin. The demand for tickets are so high a 3:00 a.m. show is added. This time around is when Elvis began throwing teddy bears into the audience when he sang Teddy Bear. Elvis is presented with “The Bing Crosby Award” between shows on August 28th. This award recognized excellence in music and contribution to the culture. Past honorees have been Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Irving Berlin.

I’ve Got Confidence

The last night of the Hilton performances during his summer festival was held on September 6th. This show broke every attendance record which even broke fire codes. With the success of the shows, Elvis goes on a spending spree. September 10th, Elvis buys himself a Stutz Blackhawk Coupe. The model he buys is the first one ever made which cost $35,000. After he returns to Memphis, he buys himself a custom Mercedes-Benz at $90,000. The next tour begins in November.

  • 5th: Metropolitan Sports Center – Minneapolis 17,600
  • 6th: Public Hall Auditorium Cleveland 20,000 standing room only
  • 7th: Freedom Hall, Louisville 18,500
  • 8th: Spectrum, Philadelphia 16,601
  • 9th: Civic Center, Baltimore 12,228 (which was sold out for the center)
  • 10th: The Garden, Boston 15,509
  • 11th: The Gardens, Cincinnati 13,272 standing room only
  • 12th: Hofheinz Pavilion, Houston 12,000 (sold out for the Pavilion)
  • 13th: Memorial Auditorium, Dallas 20,000
  • 14th: University of Alabama Field House, Tuscaloosa 12,000
  • 15th: Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City 10,400 (Elvis did not want to leave the stage with the cozy crowd. He held an over 90-minute concert.)
  • 16th: Salt Palace, Salt Lake City 13,000

The tour ends and Elvis travels to Los Angeles. On November 24th, a judge examines the results to the blood test of the paternity case. The results were kept confidential, but it has been said that the child is not Elvis’s. The case continues on because there is no real answer to the case yet. A few days later, Elvis’s eye is bothering him once again and he is required to put the eye patch back on.

Fools Rush In

By December, Elvis finally returns to Memphis to relax and get ready for the Christmas season. Issues continue to arise between Elvis and Priscilla. Before Elvis was gone only to film movies. Now he is recording and touring which is making it harder to spend time with her and Lisa Marie. Priscilla does not want any gifts that year for Christmas. Elvis gives her $10,000 anyway. Their relationship is on the rocks and the tension is high at Graceland.


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